In the Bible, El Shaddai is God’s name for supply and promise, while Jehovah – the great I AM – is God’s name for existence and fulfillment; today we enjoy God not only as El Shaddai but also as Jehovah, the One who fulfills what He has promised.
Both the Old and the New Testament are specific and precise when they speak of God, and the names of God refer to particular aspects of His person and being as related to man.
When God created all things, His name was Elohim, the Creator, the strong and mighty One; this refers to God’s relationship with creation.
When God came to Moses and called him to deliver His people from Egypt, He introduced Himself as the I AM WHO I AM, Jehovah God; this name refers to God’s relationship with man. Jehovah is not only the One who is powerful but also the One who draws near to man.
Jehovah means “I am who I am”; He is the self-existing and ever-existing One, the eternal One. Our God was in the past, He is in the present, and He will be in the future forever – He is the definition of the verb “to be”.
Our human mind is limited in its comprehending by time-space-cause, thinking that there has to be a cause for there to be an effect, and things have to take place in time and space. God is beyond our mind to understand; He simply is.
Before we were born, God was; as we live on earth, God is, and long after we’re gone, God will be. God is the self-existing One – He depends on nothing apart from Himself; no one created God, for God simply is.
He exists by Himself without beginning and without ending; He has no beginning or ending, He simply exists.
The Lord Jesus is Jehovah, the great I am; when He came to us, He said, Unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins (John 8:58). Furthermore, when we come forward to God, we must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder to those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
Praise the Lord, our God is! We believe that God is and we are not; we are here and we will continue to be simply because God is. We don’t know what will happen to us after we die, but we know that, because He is, we will also be in Him and with Him. We believe into the great I am, Jehovah God – He is our God, and we are His people!
El-Shaddai is God’s name for Supply and Promise, Jehovah is His Name for Existence and Fulfillment
One particular name of God that we see in the Old Testament is El Shaddai, the all-inclusive supplying and promising God, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob experienced God as El Shaddai – see Gen. 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; again and again God appeared to them, called them, supplied them, and promised to them.
God promised Abraham a seed, a nation that will fill the earth and inherit it, and a good land; this is the El Shaddai, literally “God with an udder” – He promises, and He provides the supply bountifully. Isaac and Jacob also experienced God as El Shaddai, and they enjoyed His blessing, His supply, and His promise.
However, they did not experience God as Jehovah, for they died in faith without receiving the fulfillment of God’s promise regarding the good land (Heb. 11:13, cf. Gen. 15:13-16). God promised them the good land, but they died in faith – yet they didn’t inherit the good land.
In their experience God was the all-sufficient One, but He was not Jehovah; to them, He was the promising God, but not the fulfilling God. But when God appeared to Moses in Exo. 6:1-8, He didn’t speak as El Shaddai (the promising God) but as Jehovah, the fulfilling God.
God didn’t merely make a promise to Moses concerning the good land: He came to fulfill His promise. God promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the good land, and He told Abraham that his descendents will sojourn for 400 years before they enter into the land; now God came to Moses to fulfill His promise.
Here we see two aspects of God, denoted by His two names: as El Shaddai, our God is the One who promises and supplies us; as Jehovah, He is the One who exists and fulfills His promise.
Because God loves us and called us out, He promised to give us Christ as our all-inclusive good land to be our enjoyment and experience day by day; because God is the great I am, the One who exists, He comes in to fulfill His promise in our experience.
This should be our experience every day: we should experience God not only as the One who promises but all the more as the One who fulfills His promises.
We need to receive His promises, pray-read over God’s word to enjoy His promises, and claim these promises in our experience, and our God, the great I am – Jehovah God, will come in to fulfill them.
Because Jehovah exists eternally and because He is the reality of the verb to be, He will fulfill what He has spoken. No matter how long it takes, He will fulfill it.
He comes in to promise us many things in His word, and He also speaks to us personally, giving us a calling, promising things to us, and speaking to us; He is the One who fulfills what He has promised!
Lord, thank You for being not only the El Shaddai – the One who supplies us bountifully and who promises to us – but also Jehovah, the great I am, the One who fulfills what He has promised. Amen, Lord, we stand on Your word and we claim your promises. You have promised to bring us into the full enjoyment and experience of Christ as the all-inclusive good land – do it in our experience! Bring us fully into the enjoyment of the all-inclusive Christ for the building up of the church, the Body of Christ!
Today we are Experiencing God not only as El Shaddai but as Jehovah, the Great I am
I am so encouraged to realize that our God is not only El Shaddai – the God who bountifully supplies us and promises to us – but also Jehovah, the great I am, the One who exists forever and who fulfills His promises.
God is here not only to promise us but also to fulfill in our lives everything that He has spoken in His word. God will fulfill only what He has actually spoken; He will not fulfill what we think God speaks to us, the things that come from our desires, or our lusts; God will fulfill His promises and His word.
We need to be very discerning and cautious in attributing a speaking or promise to God; He does speak a living word, and He does speak in the principle of incarnation, but He will fulfill only what He has promised.
Because He is the great I am – the One who was, who is, and who will forever be – He can fulfill what He has promised. No matter how long it takes, He will fulfill it. We may be exhausted in waiting for Him to fulfill His promise, but He will fulfill what He has promised.
In the Lord’s recovery today we are not in the stage of promise but in the stage of fulfillment; we are experiencing God not only as El Shaddai but also as Jehovah, the great I am. He has promised that He will build His church (Matt. 16:18), and He is fulfilling this in our midst today.
In our Christian life we are on a journey filled with the fulfillment of the promises of God, together with trials and tests. Because God is Jehovah, the great I am, He will fulfill all that He has spoken. We need to experience God as the reality of verb to be, the great I am.
When we encounter problems, tests, trials, and difficulties, we should not merely ask God for help but tell Him, Lord, You are. My problems are NOT – they are here today, but they will end, yet You, Lord, will be forever!
We may praise the Lord for His richness and sufficiency while we go through troubles or difficulties – this is to experience Him as El Shaddai; but when we praise Him for simply being – enjoying Him as the Great I Am – we praise Him in a deeper and higher way.
Many believers, when they are in need or in a difficulty, may pray to the Lord as the sufficient One; but who praises Him for His eternal existence? Our God is not merely the One who promises things to us and who supplies us; He is the One who IS – He simply is, and because He is the great I am, He fulfills all He has promised.
The Lord is longing for His people to praise Him and adore Him as the great I am, the One who simply is; we need to declare, Lord, You are!
We shouldn’t thank the Lord only for His riches, sufficiency, ability, and grace; we should go further with the Lord and have a higher revelation of Him as the great I am, as Jehovah God, and praise Him for who He is and for simply being.
Whether joy or sorrow, whether problems or happiness, whether we’re up or down, we should look to Him, open to Him, and praise Him for being the great I am.
Lord, we praise You for being the great I am. Our problems and difficulties are here today but they will end – yet You, Lord, will be forever. Uplift our enjoyment and appreciation of You from merely being the One who richly supplies us to the One who is. Amen, Lord, You are the I AM, the One who simply was, is, and will be. You are our God – You are Jehovah God, and we praise You for being the great I am! Hallelujah, our God is – He is not only the One who supplies us and bountifully cares for us, but He simply is – He’s the great I am!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ron Kangas for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Exodus, msg. 14 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-study of Ezekiel (2), msg. 3 (week 15 in the HWMR), “Know That I Am Jehovah”.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Gracious Lord, Thy name “I AM” is, / Precious name, how rich and full ‘tis, / All-inclusive, faithful too ‘tis- / All we need, Thou art!… / What Thou art-eternal, boundless, / Full and perfect, rich, exhaustless – / Meets our need to utter fullness / And from us o’erflows. (Hymns #78)
# O Lord, Thou art in me as life / And everything to me! / Subjective and available, / Thus I experience Thee. / To all my needs both great and small / Thou art the rich supply; / So ready and sufficient too / For me now to apply. (Hymns #539)
# Praise the Lord! The God of glory / Who appeared to Abraham / Has appeared to us in spirit / For His purpose and His plan! / God of glory, God of glory, / Do appear to us today, / Saturate and permeate us / Till You fully have Your way. (Song on the God of glory)
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